Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Marine impersonator sentenced to tend graves

The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Jul 31, 2007 6:58:37 EDT

TACOMA, Wash. — A Puyallup man who posed as a decorated Marine Corps captain for two years will tend graves at the Tahoma Military Cemetery in Kent as part of 500 hours of community service, a federal judge has decided.

In April, Reggie L. Buddle, 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to unlawful wearing of U.S. military medals and decorations.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Buddle told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly J. Arnold he was ashamed of his conduct.

Media attention to the case has been part of Buddle’s punishment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Friedman told the court in his sentencing memo.

“Mr. Buddle has been appropriately made to answer before a great many people, and he has been shunned by a great many others. This is its own form of punishment,” Friedman said.

Buddle posed as a Marine Corps captain in 2005 and 2006, wearing a uniform with medals awarded for extraordinary contribution to national defense and heroism in combat. Buddle once gave the opening prayer for the Washington state Senate in February 2006 and posed as a chaplain and reverend, officiating and presiding at weddings, baptisms and funerals of service members.

Buddle never served in the Marines. He bought the uniform at a military surplus store. The medals belonged to his brother, a Marine who died in Vietnam.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cookbook Update

I delivered some of our cookbooks to the Marine Recruiters' office today. Some of the recruiters bought one, but I also left some extras so that if anyone wants to stop by and pick one up, you can.

I still haven't figured out the Paypal thing. I may have to delete our account and start over. In the mean time, if you are out of the area and would like a cookbook, you can email me at semperfimomx2 @ yahoo.com (leave out the spaces) and I will give you an address so that you can mail a check or money order.

Highlander apply ‘ounce of prevention’ to Mawtini

COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, IRAQ – Staff Sgt. Thomas R. Johnson, a platoon commander with Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 2, walks away from a truck the company found, which was rigged with a detonation trigger and believed to be intended as a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). The company used fuel and an incendiary grenade to safely destroy the vehicle and deny its use against coalition forces.

July 30, 2007; Submitted on: 07/30/2007 02:05:35 AM ; Story ID#: 20077302535

By Cpl. Ryan C. Heiser, 2nd Marine Division

COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, Iraq (July 30, 2007) -- Someone once said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 2, is applying this truism to their operations in the Iraqi desert.

The battalion is part of the regimental-wide ‘Operation Mawtini,’ which kicked off July 15, 2007. This operation closely follows ‘Operation Harris Ba’sil,’ which gave the regiment a wider picture of enemy movement patterns, and was intended to provide more focused operations in the critical enemy areas. Data gathered by military officials shows an increase in enemy activity during this time of year.

“We anticipate that the terrorists will attempt to step-up their attacks in the urban areas to gain power and influence over the population,” said Col. Stacy Clardy, the regiment’s commanding officer. “We’re hunting them down so that doesn’t happen.”

First LAR launched Company C, also known as the ‘Warpigs,’ in support of the operation, which covered most of the battalion’s area of operation (AO) across the northeastern side of the Euphrates River. In addition to the Warpigs, the battalion also had several attachments and Iraqi Security Forces participating in the first stages of the operation.

“We projected our force into our AO, showed our presence, talked to people, and gathered a lot of information,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas R. Johnson, a platoon commander with the company. “That’s a large part of what LAR does; it’s even in the name: reconnaissance; we gather information. I think this operation is the right answer to some of the problems we have seen in the past. Continually going out in force, and continually showing our presence is definitely working in our favor and producing results.”

During the first week of the operation the battalion and its attachments, commonly referred to as ‘Task Force Highlander,’ found three weapons caches and storage areas and detained two Iraqis suspected of insurgent activity. Some of the things they recovered were: propane tanks, a truck rigged with a detonation trigger, electrical wiring, detonation cord, (16) 10-gallon drums of nitric acid - 14 of which were rigged with detonation cord, several small arms weapons including AK-47’s and a submachine gun, 59 fully loaded AK-47 magazines,(100) 9mm rounds, (880) .762-caliber rounds, a shotgun, a house rigged with several explosives, and a Ruchnoi Pulemet Kalashnikova medium machine gun, commonly referred to as the Kalashnikov or an RPK.

“We have done an amazing job so far disrupting AIF (anti-Iraqi forces) presence in the North (of the Euphrates River),” said 1st Lt. Ryan C. Stewart, the battalion’s intelligence officer.

The battalion’s focus during the operation is to deny insurgents the ability to conduct a surge of activity and setting the conditions for continued Iraqi government and Iraqi provincial leadership.

“So far we have provided stability and security for the Iraqi civilians, and we are disrupting AIF movement from urban areas. We are stopping them from fleeing into the open terrain and preventing them from getting back into the cities to disrupt security,” said Stewart, who is serving on his second tour to Iraq.

The operation not only includes Marines, soldiers and sailors, but also Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The Warpigs had several Iraqi Army soldiers attached to their light armored vehicles who participated in searching houses and questioning Iraqi civilians about insurgent activity.

Marines in the battalion say they are confident the remainder of the operation will go as smoothly as the first week has, and they remain optimistic about the overall goal of provincial Iraqi control.

“The ISF needs to take over, so it is essential and imperative that we include them on operations like this and take them along with us so we can continue to teach them,” said Johnson, an Elbert, Colo., native. “They need to know how to counteract insurgents and fight insurgent activity, so they can continue this work after we are gone. And they will. They have done a good job so far, and they will continue to do it after we are gone, so long as we continue to train them and teach them what we know.”

Click here for source and to see the rest of the pictures.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Great Websites

Military One Source is a great resource for both troops and their families.
From American Forces Press Service

Help with Almost Every Military Family Problem
WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department has established a "one stop" place to go whenever service members or family members need assistance with any kind of problem.
It's called "Military One Source," and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, according to John M. Molino, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

"Military One Source is a revolutionary augmentation to the family services we currently have on military installations around the world," Molino explained during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

Each service had its own One Source program, and now DoD is bringing them together and calling it Military One Source, Molino noted.

He noted that it's intended to complement assistance offered to military families by the services. Molino said Military One Source "leverages technology and enables DoD to provide assistance to families and service members via the Internet or a toll-free telephone number."

The services include everything from common, everyday difficulties that might face a family to life's most complicated situations, he noted.

Molino said Military One Source is available 24 hours a day around the country and around the world. "It's a remarkable way to … step forward into a new generation of providing services," he said. "It's a place where no matter when that situation occurs, the military family member or service member could make a phone call or go on the Internet and begin to get some help."

The military services provide a lot of family services on installations, but Molino pointed out that about two-thirds of military families live off base. "The people who are off the installation tend to be the most junior folks," he added.

"They may not have the financial resources to have two cars, or to get themselves back and forth to the installations to get those services," Molino continued. "So what One Source does is provide the opportunity to make that phone call and let us bring the services, literally, figuratively and electronically, to your home."

When someone calls Military One Source for help, the person answering the phone has at least a master's degree in social work or some kind of counseling service, Molino noted. "That person is trained specifically to deal with military issues -- issues that complicate military life. So they're very sensitive to what you ask," he said.

"Some people think they're the only people who ever experienced whatever their problem is, and, of course, they're not," Molino emphasized. "Most everyone goes through different phases and different cycles."

The voice on the other end doesn't make judgments about situations, he noted. "They're there to listen to what you have to say, evaluate it, and give you the beginnings of an answer or actually the answer to your question," Molino said.

Military One Source runs the gamut of situations: from needing a plumber in the middle of the night to fix a broken pipe, to needing veterinary service for a sick dog. It also handles things like helping families new to an area find childcare, or information about the school system, summer jobs – whatever is needed.

"One Source can get all that information and provide it to you in a most efficient manner, whether it be electronically or getting back to you on the telephone," Molino said.

People shouldn't be afraid or embarrassed to seek help from Military One Source, he said, but he acknowledged some people may be reluctant to ask for help. "You try to convince people that the person at the other end of the phone isn't going to be judgmental about your situation," he said.

Word of mouth is the best way to get the word out about Military One Source within a unit, he noted. For example, Molino said, "If I'd made a phone call and had a positive experience, I can tell you about it. I can say, 'You know, I tried One Source one time, and it worked for me. You ought to give it a shot.' Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's really a sign of being smart – it's a sign of smartness," Molino said.

Another great website is Soldiers' Angels. I am (obviously) very involved with Lubbock Marine Parents and much of my time and money goes into the group, but I also wanted to be able to support another Soldier or Marine (aside from my own sons) individually. So, I signed up about a year ago with Soldiers' Angels to adopt a Soldier. I am a proud angel to Cpl Brad who just returned to Germany after spending a year in Afghanistan. Soldier's Angels has recently had an influx of Marines sign up to be adopted and they are in need of more angels. I signed up for one today, and I hope you will too.

In addition to or instead of adopting a Soldier, you can be a part of the Cards Plus Team,
The Cards Plus Team is dedicated to helping soldiers, soldiers' families and even angels receive support through cards. Cards can be requested for deployed soldiers for events such as:



Thinking of you Get well


New baby

Welcome home

The Chaplain Support Team
The goal of the Chaplains Support Team is to provide direct support to the Chaplains, as they provide their assistance and comfort to the soldiers. The Chaplains perform most of their duties in a non-denominational capacity.

We supply Chaplains with requested items related to their
mission. We also provide them with requested numbers of hand-out
letters and gifts that can be easily distributed to the many soldiers
that Soldiers' Angels may otherwise not be able to locate and

Through this program, Soldiers' Angels can reach those soldiers that may be in remote locations, feeling isolated and lonely, in need of a morale boost, and may never have heard of Soldiers' Angels.
Also, our program strongly encourages the soldiers to submit their names for Adoption.

The Chaplains Support Team takes great pride in supporting many deployed military service members who need and enjoy knowing that we appreciate their service and incredible sacrifice in protecting our freedoms and the freedoms of others.

Or you can Support veterans, or help with any of the other teams and projects. Any way that you choose to help will be greatly appreciated.

City block named after injured former Marine

SSGT Mark Graunke Jr. pictured on Veteran's Day 2004 at the Dallas City Hall with Houston James, a survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2007 13:36:37 EDT

A city block in Dallas was named after a former Marine whose body was ripped apart four years ago when a bomb he was attempting to defuse in Iraq exploded in his hands.

Mark Graunke Jr., a staff sergeant at the time, survived the July 2003 blast but lost his left eye, his left hand and the thumb and index finger of his right hand.

Even after the initial trauma, he had to make a tough decision. His right leg wasn’t responding to treatment, causing him extreme pain, so he told doctors to amputate it, he said.

Now, he is trying to provide encouragement to other Marines injured in the war and ensure they are not forgotten by the public, he said.

“It’s important that people pick up some slack and do right by the families for servicemen that come back injured and some who don’t come back and help with their families too,” he said.

A Dallas builder, Brandenburg Homes, will construct 16 homes on the block, now known as the Mark Graunke Jr. Addition. The builder will donate $3,000 for each home sold, divided equally between three charities Graunke selected — the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Fisher House and the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, all of which helped him recover from his injuries, he said.

Graunke’s mother, Maggie Brown, had been Brandenburg’s construction manager for the past five years and spoke with the company’s president, Terry Gatson, about making the dedication and the charitable donations in her son’s name.

“Mark has been such an inspiration for so many people. He’s done so much to help so many people,” said Brown about her son’s work speaking to wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The Graunke family made a special request for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Luster to fly in from Bethesda, Md., for Thursday night’s dedication ceremony because he had helped Graunke through his recovery.

Though Graunke was quarantined at Walter Reed — restricted to seeing only family members because he had bacteria from the combat zone on his body — Luster ignored the warnings and came into the room to cut Graunke’s hair, Brown said.

“He just didn’t care if he got bugs,” Brown said. “He is quite an exceptional Marine. It was so important to Mark even then to be up to Marine standards.”

Just before he left for the ceremony, Graunke said in a telephone interview that he typically didn’t like all of the extra attention, but it was vital to get the word out about other Marines in his situation.

“I usually don’t like to talk at these events, but tonight I will because it’s important to maintain awareness,” he said.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Succesful Meeting

Our meeting last night was a huge success! We had the biggest group that we've had at a meeting so far. We took up the whole patio at Daybreak. Lots of members picked up their cookbooks and magnets and it was great to meet all the new parents and hear about their Marines. We drank lots of coffee and had lots of fun. We were even featured on the 10:00 news last night on KLBK, Channel 13.

We are planning a big kick off for our Christmas carepack drive. We are thinking about something like this organized by a group of Texas Soldiers' Angels. The kick off will be sometime in September and the packing party will be in November. As always, I will let you know all the details once we get them worked out.

New rules for cammies released

Staff report
Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2007 9:00:43 EDT

If you're wearing your desert cammies today, then you're off to a good start.

Effective Wednesday, desert cammies with sleeves rolled up became the designated summer uniform in garrison, while the woodland uniform with sleeves down will be the uniform for the winter months, according to AlMar 035/07, titled, “Wear of the Marine Corps Combat Utilitary Uniform.”

For aircrew Marines, the new rules means tan flight suits in summer and green flight suits in winter, according to the message.

The commandant’s guidance also tightened the rules for wearing cammies off base, banning the practice in all instances except “bona fide” emergencies, such as a medical emergencies, car accidents or vehicle breakdowns, according to the message.

Trips to the ATM, fast-food restaurants and dry cleaners are still kosher — as long as you do drive-thru. But there’s no more visiting off-base banks or gas stations without changing clothes, the message states.

“The [combat utility uniform] is a field uniform and is not appropriate for wear in a civilian environment,” Commandant Gen. James Conway writes in the AlMar, which goes on to say that en route stops “are not authorized” unless they’re an emergency.

Under the old policy, Marines could pump gas or stop at a grocery store for necessities such as milk, diapers or prescription drugs while wearing their cammies, but those days are over.

Conway wrote that he’s making the rule change because the Corps is no longer transitioning from the old camouflage pattern to the newer pixel pattern.

“As Marines, our uniforms and military appearance are an important part of our identity and have traditionally marked us as the nation’s most distinctive military service,” Conway wrote. “As such, uniformity and an outward pride in our appearance have been constants for every Marine — from private to general.”

Local commanders can still prescribe the appropriate uniform for exercises, the AlMar said. Also, a commanding general or other component commander can ask Conway for a waiver from the seasonal rules. This could be the case for Marines stationed at joint headquarters or for other “climactic conditions” at bases and stations.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Meeting Tonight

Please join us for our meeting tonight. We will be meeting at 8:00pm at Daybreak Coffee on 19th and Quaker. We'll have the cookbooks if you want to take a look. Our meetings are always a lot of fun, so don't miss out.

Speaking of the cookbooks, I seem to have messed up the link to pay with Paypal so that the shipping is not included. Until I can get that figured out, you can just leave a comment or email me at semperfimomx2 @ yahoo.com (leave out the spaces) and I will send you the address to mail a check to, or you can click on the "donate" button in our sidebar and pay that way (I think). They are $12 plus $6 for shipping. Sorry about the mix up!

Also, be sure and listen to Jenn of the Jungle's blogtalk radio show tonight at 7:00 Central. She's going to mention our cookbooks!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Care Pack Ideas

This post will be on top for a few days, so scroll down for new posts.

Believe it or not, it is almost time for us to begin working on our Christmas Care Pack drive. As I have mentioned before, we send care packs year round, but we have a big drive to collect items to send in the care packs as well as money for shipping every year as Christmas approaches. I have been amazed at how well our community has responded and how many care packs we have been able to send. This will be our 4th year to send Christmas care packs. The first year, there were only three of us and we sent 10 packages entirely out of our own pockets. The next year, we had about 10 parents and with some help from our families, friends and Sunday school classes, we sent out over 50 care packs. Last year, our goal was to send 200 Christmas stockings and we asked our community for help. We were thrilled that so many individuals, businesses, churches and schools responded with goodies to send as well as monetary donations. We were able to send 251 individual care packs along with 3 large unit boxes to make the Marines' and Soldiers' holidays a little brighter. We spent well over $2,000 for shipping. The Elk's Lodge opened up their building so that we would have plenty of space for our packing party and even fed us hamburgers. Lubbock is such a generous community!

Here is a list of needed items from a Hospital Corpsman, also known as a "Devil Doc". When you go about your weekly shopping please think about picking up an item on this list. As always, you are free to drop them off at the recruiter's office, or leave a comment (or email me through my profile) and I will get back to you and come by to pick them up, or give you an address to mail them to if you are out of town.

You can also donate money for shipping through our Paypal account. Click on "make a donation" in our sidebar.

* AXE body wash
* foot odor sprays and air fresheners
for people's barrack's room - (when you live with 6 people and 1 has Athlete's Foot, life becomes a living hell. Air Fresheners and FootSprays become gold!!!)
* luffa sponges
* razors (Gillette Mach 3)
* air fresheners (the stick up kind - not plug ins)
* Scented candles
* Fitness /weight-lifting magazines and books Men's Exercise, Men's Workout, Muscle & Fitness, GQ, Motorcycle & Car Magazines, Men's Health, Men's Fitness,(Current issues please - they have lots of old ones)
* hand sanitizer
* protein bars
* dried fruit (Sunmaid mixed fruit, prunes, apricots, etc)
* mini-DVD-R to record messages home (Not full-sized dvd's)
* Postcards from your state
* Strawberry Oreo Cookies
* Propel Packets to put in our bottled water
* Bath towels and wash cloths
* Rice Krispy treats

Also see our other list of needed items.

Thank you so much for all your help! You really do make a difference!

Field Radio Operator Serves Fifth Tour in Iraq

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Tasha Monz, field radio operator for Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducts maintenance on the Blue Force Tracking System inside a Humvee at Al Taqaddum, Iraq. Monz is serving her fifth tour in Iraq. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Holly

By Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Holly
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq, July 25, 2007 — With Marine Corps operational tempo at an all-time high, there are Marines out there who don’t mind the deployments even after five of them.
Sgt. Tasha Monz, field radio operator for Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and six-year veteran of the Marine Corps, is currently serving her fifth tour in Iraq.

“Anything that a Marine can do out here, she has done,” said Capt. Michael D. Pitre, officer in charge, about the experience and leadership she brings to the table with five deployments under her belt. “She’s great!”

As one can guess, the climate in Iraq has certainly changed since her first deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

“The Marine Corps has come a long way (in Iraq)," said Monz, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. "The people of Iraq have grown to appreciate us rather than being afraid and angry with us. I remember doing convoys in OIF II and getting rocks and all sorts of things thrown at us. Now we get waved at and offered gifts.”

She also noted the cities have been cleaned up a great deal and believes we aren’t the only ones who understand what’s being done here.

The changes aren’t only here in Iraq, but on the home front too. Monz’s parents were terrified the first time she came over here.

“Whose families weren’t,” she said. “Now they are used to it. They obviously still worry about me, but it isn’t half as bad as it used to be.”

Her family and friends now understand if she doesn’t contact them for a few weeks she’s probably busy or just unable to get to a phone or computer during that time.

The Oak Hill High School graduate continued to explain how the more she’s gone the stronger the bond is with her family.

When Monz was asked how long she planned on staying in the Corps she said she wasn’t sure yet. She wants to start a family, yet she loves the life the Marine Corps offers her. She recognizes she has some tough decisions to ponder in the near future.

Until then, her goal is to see her “fellow” female Marines continue to step up and perform when called upon.

“We already have a point to prove,” Monz said with a smile, “and having more deployments under your belt makes it easier.”

Monz has already made plans to stay with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit for their next scheduled deployment in 2008. Number six…?


Marine Poster

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Does that answer your question?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Cookbooks are here!

The cookbooks arrived yesterday and they look great! They come with a stand for handsfree cooking and the cover is beautiful. Of course, the best part is all the great recipes.

The cookbooks are $12 each, plus $6 shipping for those of you who need it mailed to you. You are welcome to order through the Paypal link in our sidebar, or you can email me at semperfimomx2 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces) and I will give you an address to mail a check to. The proceeds will be used to send care packs to our troops.

If you are in town and would like to see the cookbooks in person, or pick up your cookbook if you have already ordered one, please join us for our next meeting this Thursday, July 26th at 8:00pm at Daybreak Coffee on 19th and Quaker.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ohio (Come Back To Texas)

This is a great song by Bowling for Soup. I heard it today for the first time in a while and I thought y'all might like it. I love the lyrics.

"Ohio (Come Back To Texas)"

She said she needed a break
A little time to think
But then she went to Cleveland
With some guy named Leelan
That she met at the bank

There's nothing wrong with Ohio
Except the snow and the rain
I really like Drew Carey
And I'd love to see the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame

So when your done doing whatever
And when your through doing whoever
You know Denton County will be right here waiting for you....

Come back to Texas
Its just not the same since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about the Lonestar State
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sux north of here anyway

I think I made a mistake
Its not that easy to take
She went to make a deposit
Then she cleaned out her closet
Guess I'll sit here and wait

For her to come back home (I'd wish you come back home)
It shouldn't take very long (so long so long)
I bet she misses the sunrise
And Mrs. Baird's fruit pies but I could be wrong

So when your done doing whatever
And when your through doing whoever
You know Denton County will be right here waiting for you....

Come back to Texas
Its just not the same since you went away
I bet you missed your exit
And drove right on through the Lone Star State
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sux north of here anyway

Troy Aikmen wants you back
Willie Nelson wants you back
NASA wants you back
And the Bush twins want you back
And Pantera wants you back
And Blue Bell wants you back

I got a premonition
I'm taking a petition
And the whole state's gonna sign

Come back to Texas
Its just not the same since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about the Lone Star State
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved

Come back to Texas
Its just not the same since you went away
Before you lose your accent
And forget all about the Lone Star State
There's a seat for you at the rodeo
And I've got every slow dance saved
Besides the Mexican food sux north of here anyway
Besides the Mexican food sux north of here anyway
Besides the Mexican food sux north of here anyway

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bumper of my SUV

"Bumper of my SUV" is a great song by Chely Wright. She tells the story of how she wrote it in this video. She has a brother who is a Marine and has performed for the troops all over the world. She was even in Japan not long before my oldest son was stationed there. Too bad he missed it. She was featured in Leatherneck Magazine back in 2005 I think it was. I have this CD and I love it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vietnam Veteran turned chaplain helps Marines cope with combat

July 20, 2007; Submitted on: 07/20/2007 02:36:55 PM ; Story ID#: 2007720143655

By Cpl. Eric C. Schwartz, 2nd Marine Division

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq- Naval Commander Dennis Rocheford, a Catholic chaplain with II Marine Expeditionary Force, serves communion to 1stLt. Steven Rubeo, a supply officer with Headquarters and Support Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, at the St. Michael's Chapel. Rocheford, a former Marine fought during the Vietnam Conflict, feels 'Marines are the finest people I know.'

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq (July 20, 2007) -- “Lord,” said Lance Cpl. Dennis Rocheford, a Marine with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, “I will not waste my life.” The bus hummed along the flight line transporting Rocheford, a Vietnam Veteran fresh from the war-torn jungles of the Quang Tri Province, to Okinawa, Japan en route to the United States.

Forty years later, after joining the Marines in 1966, now U.S. Navy Commander Dennis Rocheford, a Catholic Chaplain with II Marine Expeditionary Force, serves a higher power, giving spiritual guidance to deployed Marines with Regimental Combat Team 2.

“It was my war, my country, my generation, my time,” said the Worcester, Mass., native.

Fate saved Rocheford one night during a bridge ambush where a bullet entered and exited his torso missing all vital organs.

“The wound was scoured out with surgical soap, bandaged up, and we continued to march,” the chaplain said.

Rocheford earned his badge of courage that night. It wasn’t the last time his blood spilled for America. The young lance corporal later fought in Hue City during the Tet Offensive with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

“We weren’t trained for house to house fighting; we were trained to fight in the jungle,” Rocheford said.

The urban battle went on for five weeks, but the Marines weren’t giving up.

“Dozens of guys were getting killed from my company,” said Rocheford.

The young Marine brushed against death with every building he cleared, every street he crossed. And once again he tempted fate, as he was struck in the face by shrapnel from a mortar round.

“I felt the blood dripping and then felt my face,” Rocheford said. “I started getting really scared.”

Rocheford kept fighting soon after finding the wound to be a superficial scar. After almost sacrificing his life again for his country, his company was once more thrust into battle. This time tasked with recapturing hill 881 on the Khe Sanh plateau from the North Vietnamese.

“Hill 881 was like reclaiming Mt. Suribachi and putting the flag up,” he said.

The battle scarred Marine became the A Company Commander’s radio operator. It became a routine job sitting at a field desk relaying messages back and forth daily with patrols.

“Two platoons left the hill one day to patrol,” said Rocheford. “I was the only radio operator there, and that’s when we got attacked.”

The company relied on Rocheford to keep communicating with naval and air support, artillery and his fellow Marines during the battle, which he successfully did.

“I was a lance corporal directing naval gunfire, telling Phantom Jets where to drop their napalm bombs and giving grid coordinates to the regimental artillery battery,” the chaplain said.

“Being alone in that bunker was pretty intense.”

Rocheford’s intensity in the Marine Corps died down immensely when he finished his contract at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He began attending confession.

“I confessed to killing in Vietnam,” the chaplain said. “The priest was gracious to me and told me it was not a sin if it was combat.”

The Marine’s contract was almost finished and instead of re-enlisting, he chose college.

“College was a balanced experience for me,” said the chaplain. “There were parties on Thursdays and Mass on Sundays.”

Rocheford quickly blended into college life but avoided discussions on the topic of the much-debated Vietnam Conflict.

“People didn’t really know I was a war veteran because it was so volatile at the time,” he said.

Studying and dating kept him focused on college, but his love of Christ pushed him to his destined livelihood.

“I loved Christ, but I didn’t think I could be a priest,” the chaplain said.

A priest explained to Rocheford that he still qualified for priesthood, so after college he attended seminary school.

“I was overwhelmed with the beauty of learning scripture,” he said. “It was like being a brand new Marine again.”

Rocheford would take the Eucharist, wafers and wine, extremely seriously, while many of the older students understood its importance, but weren’t as excited as he.

“The guys in the seminary would say, ‘Dennis, you don’t have to salute the Eucharist,’” the chaplain said.

Rocheford entered priesthood proclaiming a chaste life. He was placed in a missionary in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, and later moved back as a priest in his hometown.

Pope John Paul II asked men of the cloth to join the military because there were few Catholic chaplains. Father Rocheford joined the Navy Chaplain Corps because “the Marines don’t have one.”

As a chaplain, Rocheford has been stationed many places including Officer Candidate School, Parris Island Recruit Training Depot, and deployed with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“Everything has been a blessing,” Rocheford said. “It comes back to that commitment January 16, 1969, when I said I wouldn’t waste my life.”

Lance Cpl. Dennis Rocheford stepped off the bus wearing his jungle utilities. There wasn’t applause for his heroism or a thank you from anyone for proudly serving his country. The silence struck the Marine as odd, but he was alive and therefore happy. He had a bright future ahead of him and a promise to keep.

Friday, July 20, 2007

FREE Military Handbooks!!

From TXMarineMom1987

I would, if I may, like to take a moment and give a special Thanks to the Family Readiness Officer for the local Marine Corps Reserve Center. He has been such a wonder and great supporter not only to our Marines and their families, but also to our little group. He has passed some information on to me that I would like to share.

MilitaryHandbooks.com offers free military handbooks for active and retired U.S. Personnel. These handbooks come in a variety of topics from paying for college, benefits for veterans and dependents, veteran healthcare benefits and children’s scholarships. However, at this time, they are only available in electronic version (PDF file).

I have already ordered and received mine. They really are very informative and much easier to comprehend than some of the other forms I have gotten. And hey, if it’s free…it’s for me!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Life of a Recruiter

Recruiting is a tough job and one that gets very little recognition. Lubbock Marine Parents participated in Operation Recruiter Appreciation back in May and we usually bake cookies or make fudge for them at Christmas. Not only do they face rejection and angry parents every day, but they are away from the camaraderie of their fellow Marines and the benefits of living near a military base. If you get a chance, stop by the recruiter's office nearest you and give them a pat on the back and maybe a couple of movie passes or a Wal Mart card. Recruiting duty is vitally important to the safety of our nation and these hardworking men and women and their families deserve our appreciaiton.
Pressure on the home front Timothy Walker is a Marine recruiter who can't let war deter him
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff
Marine Sgt. Timothy Walker made 1,176 telephone phone calls last month -- the number the computer at headquarters said the New Jersey recruiter needed to dial to find at least two young people willing to join "the few, the proud."

In between the calls, the eight-year veteran drove thousands of miles across southern Monmouth County and knocked on dozens of doors. Sometimes he literally chased groups of young people until they stopped long enough to hear his spiel and take his business card.

There were days when Walker, 26, left his wife and two young daughters sleeping in their beds at 4 a.m. and did not come home until midnight. Even on "short" days that run from 8 a.m. to past 8 p.m., Walker knows exactly how he will feel when it ends.

"Exhausted. When I get home at night, I just want to sit down, turn the tube on and pass out on the couch," Walker says. "If your feet hurt, that means you worked that day. If your brain hurts, you know you worked that day. Tough job. Tough times."

Spend a day with Walker as he works the phones and hits the streets in manic pursuit of new recruits and you see how the Iraq war and its growing casualty count take a toll on the men and women responsible for filling the ranks of an all-volunteer military. A strong economy and millions of young people made ineligible for military service by health or legal troubles only add to the strain.

The Marine Corps considers recruiters to be fighting the battle in Iraq, only on a different front. The tools at hand are slick television advertisements, sophisticated marketing databases and the most rudimentary of sales pitches: "Here's my card, call me."

Like the troops, the recruiters' battle gets harder every day.

There were 175,000 Marines on active duty when the war began in 2003 and 35,000 new enlistments that year. Since then, the required number of recruits has grown steadily under a Congressional mandate to increase the size of the Marine Corps by nearly 10 percent by the end of the decade. The Marines needed 38,000 active-duty recruits last year and 1,000 more than that this year. In 2010, the number will swell to 45,000.

Nearly 1,000 Marines have been killed in Iraq, accounting for more than a quarter of the war's combat deaths even though the Corps makes up only about 20 percent of the ground troops. Thousands more have been wounded.

Although the Marines have made every year-end quota since the war began, they missed several monthly targets in 2005. But June's recruiting numbers were good to the Marines -- they hit 110 percent of their monthly quota of 3,924. By contrast, the Army, which has suffered heavy losses associated with the recent troop surge, missed its goal of 8,400 recruits by nearly 20 percent.

Read the article here.

Marine buffing deck...funny

This is hilarious. LMP had coffee last night and was talking about all the funny videos so I had a little time today and went looking! Had a good laugh or two. If you have ever tried to run a buffer it is mighty tough handling!

Former Marine Thwarts Bank Robber

A former Marine, already irritated about the disappearance of $100 from his bank account, tackled a suspected robber who came into the bank wielding a fire extinguisher and demanding cash.
Timothy Armstead was waiting at the Washington Mutual Bank branch on Tuesday to discuss the missing money when the man came in and told bank employees he had a bomb. The man gave them five minutes to get $2,000 in $50 bills, DeKalb County police said.
As the employees went to the vault to comply, the unidentified man began loudly counting down the minutes, which attracted Armstead's attention, police spokesman Michael Payne said.
When the man then tried to walk out with the money, Armstead, 27, knocked him to the ground. He held the man down - lecturing him on his poor decision - until authorities arrived.
"I just told him it was a very stupid decision and now you get to spend 20 years of your life just for taking some money," Armstead told WSB-TV.
The man was taken to the DeKalb County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery. Jail officials declined to comment on his case Friday. A call to the DeKalb County Sheriff's office was not immediately returned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vacation Pictures

I know you can't wait to hear ALL about my vacation! :) As I already mentioned we went to Disneyland, the beach, and Hollywood, and got to see loads of relatives who either live in California or met us there, but the best part of the trip was that my oldest son was able to fly out and meet us there. We have been so blessed that both our Marines have been able to make it home this summer. I wish we could have had them both on vacation with us, but I'm so glad we got to see them both.

Disneyland was fun and the lines weren't as bad as I thought they might be. I know some people (my husband included) aren't crazy about amusement parks, but I always have fun. I like the rides as much as the kids do. I think Indiana Jones was my favorite, but Space Mountain and Splash Mountain were really good too. We did stand in line for an hour and a half for the new submarine ride. I don't know that it was worth the line, but it was a fun ride and I enjoyed the people watching while we waited. I heard 3 or 4 different languages being spoken that day.

We also went to Santa Monica beach and pier and to Hollywood. We stayed most of the day at the beach and wound up with a little too much sun. We just didn't want to leave. We are so far from the beach in our part of Texas that it's not something we get to do on a regular basis. The next day we rode the subway to Hollywood and Highland. That was an adventure in itself as we don't have subways here. It was fun to see the Walk of Fame and the footprints and handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese theater and we took one of those cheesy tours. I enjoyed that too. Maybe I'm easily amused. ;) We saw Dr. Phil's house (lovely Spanish style home), Sean Connery's house, Jackie Chan's house (plus many more), drove down Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive...over two hours worth of sightseeing on the tour. It was a wonderful vacation, but I am glad to be home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The epitome of Marine Corps drill

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON – A line of shadows are cast across the parade field by members of the Silent Drill Platoon during a morning drill session. The television station FX filmed their practice session for an upcoming feature involving Marines.

July 10, 2007; Submitted on: 07/17/2007 09:02:52 AM ; Story ID#: 20077179252

By Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook, Headquarters Marine Corps

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON (July 10, 2007) -- Decked out in their dress uniforms, there are a select few who march in-step with a snap-and-pop precision that can be heard across a football field. They perform their duties in rain, sleet or snow without question and have a ceremonial bearing that rivals any staring-contest champion.

Within one year of graduating from the School of Infantry, these Marines have been shaped and molded to act as the face of the Marine Corps; a task which has taken hundreds of hours of preparation, hands-on instruction and practical application. In short, they represent the epitome of Marine Corps drill.

For more than seventy years, Marine Barracks Washington’s Silent Drill Platoon has dazzled crowds and dignitaries with their acrobatic drill-movements. However, hundreds of tourists still visit the Marine Corps War Memorial each Tuesday during parade season to see why numerous individuals regard the Silent Drill Platoon as one of the premiere military drilling organizations around the globe.

Between commitments around the National Capital Region, the Silent Drill Platoon spends around 140 days on the road each year showcasing their skills for all to see.

“Everyone gets a little nervous during their first performance, but the amount of training we receive eliminates most of it,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan Wiley, assistant drill master and a 20-year-old Forrest Grove, Md. “You just go out and do the best you can. Me … I’m more nervous performing for my platoon leaders than in front of a full football stadium.”

Each performance has hundreds of movements, so in a show where continuity is key, one mistake can cause catastrophe. Not every performance is perfect, but don’t expect to see a break in their concentration when something unexpected happens.

“I broke the handle grip during one show, so I had to hold it at my side,” said Sgt. Tim Maurer, former drill master and 23-year-old Fairhope, Ala., native. “I’m sure someone noticed, but since I didn’t lose my ceremonial composure, for all they knew it was part of the show.”

With all of the responsibility they are charged with, some people might be surprised to find out each member is on their first enlistment and most of the organization runs on the non-commissioned officer level.

“Sometimes I feel that all of my duties have been taken care of for me,” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Duprey, platoon sergeant and former member of the Silent Drill Platoon. “I pass word and give them the opportunity to take care of it themselves then they step forward and run with it. I don’t have to force anything, because they’re the type of Marines who are driven to do their best in all things.”

Before there is an increase in re-enlistments or volunteers for drill-duty, know that there are more prerequisites to enter the ranks of the Marching 24. Members of the Silent Drill Platoon must have an infantry-based military occupation and meet certain height and weight standards. If Marines pass those requirements and complete the rest of the screening process, they’re sent to Marine Barracks Washington for a two-year ceremonial tour as a marcher. Then, if the Marines feel they have what it takes, they can request to become part of the drill team.

The current drill master for the Silent Drill Platoon caught one of their performances while he was going through the School of Infantry and hasn’t looked back since.

“When I saw their discipline and precision I told myself I wanted to be a part of that,” said Sgt. Jeff Kopp, a 22-year-old Clinton, Iowa native. “It’s pretty awe-inspiring to step on the same field and continue this tradition.”

Dozens of Marines are taught the necessary movements to make the Corps’ elite drill team each year, but only a handful have what it takes to enter the 24-man platoon. This is a fact seen firsthand by instructors at Silent Drill School in Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., where they select only one out of every three drill hopefuls.

“It was pretty intense,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Anderson, a 19-year-old Dwight Ill., native. “Ten to 12 hours of drill each day definitely takes a toll on the body.”

After Marines graduate from the four-month drill school, they’re sent back to Marine Barracks Washington where they continue to hone their marching movements before stepping on any parade deck and performing in front of a live audience. Specific techniques were taught to help Marines perform each movement, but the methods for remembering those steps differ per individual.

“Everyone has their own tricks of the trade,” said Maurer. “It comes down to consistent repetition. Once you have everything memorized, you relax and focus on the movements.”

Though their rifles are unloaded and bayonets unsharpened, members of the platoon do face certain dangers while practicing or performing.

“Every now and then someone busts their head on a butt stock or gets sliced open by a bayonet,” said Cpl. Chad Olerud, a 22-year-old Huron, S.D., native. “I have a few staples in my head from a spinning incident during inspection team practice.”

It’s these spin movements that cause the most trouble for new members, according to several Marines with the Silent Drill Platoon.

“There’s an initial fear that you’re going to hit yourself,” said Anderson. “But after you do hit yourself a few times, you say screw it and just letting the weapon go where it needs to.”

Once they attain drill-perfection, the Silent Drill Platoon performs on parade fields all over the world. But it’s not just about hitting the movements without making any mistakes; it’s also about looking and acting the part as well. The Silent Drill Platoon spends hundreds of dollars of their own money on cleaning gear, dry cleaning and refurbishing their medals and buttons throughout each parade season.

“We go through gloves constantly,” said Copp. “You usually need a new pair after five or six shows because they become unserviceable.”

Between rifle-spins and battle formations, the Silent Drill Platoon polishes up on their infantry skills at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va.

“One of our primary missions is to prepare our Marines for the operating forces, so we try to get them in the field whenever we can to hone their warfighting skills,” said Col. Terry Lockard, commanding officer of Marine Barracks Washington and a 51-year-old Ashville, Ohio native. “We’re not just about looking pretty”

Performing for VIPs, instructing newly assigned Marines, visiting countries across the pond; whatever the item on their agenda, it can usually be thrown into three categories.

“If we’re not drilling or traveling, we’re training,” said Maurer.

But don’t think that these Marines have the best of both worlds by spending most of their time out of an office. Traveling for a third of the year can take its toll on anyone. Then there is the matter of having orders to a non-deployable unit. However, all negative items included, there isn’t one member of the Silent Drill Platoon who regrets their drill-decision.

“You’re only a first-termer once, so the opportunity to be here is very rare,” said Kopp. “It gets tiring living out of a garment bag on the road, and there are times when I wish I was out in Iraq or Afghanistan with the guys I went to school with, but right now I’m happy with where I’m at.”

For more parade or historical information on the Silent Drill Platoon, visit www.mbw.usmc.mil.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm home!

I'm home and I'm tired! What is it about travel that just wears you out? I have about a million emails to catch up on and tons of laundry to do.

I have family that lives in California and we had sort of a family reunion. We went to Disney Land, Santa Monica beach and Hollywood. I would HATE to deal with all that LA traffic on a regular basis, but it was a great place to visit. I'll post some pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Goin' to California

Holiday Scenes, Have a Great Vacation
Holiday Scenes, Have a Great Vacation

I'm leaving in the morning for a few days of vacation in California. Hopefully Blondiebee and TXMarineMom will keep you entertained while I am gone. Keep an eye on them for me! You never know with those two... :) I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to share when I get back.

Make room on the pole...

From TXMarineMom:

The Armed Forces Memorial Tribute Flag is a beautiful memorial to honor and remember all our fallen Marines and soldiers.

You can see the story and order one of flags at http://www.neverforgetflag.us. Proceeds will be used for the Armed Forces Family Aid and Relief Fund (AFFAR) which provides aid and comfort to the men and women of any branch of the service and away from home. It also helps survivors who have lost a family member in the line of duty.

This is not a replacement for POW/MIA flag that many fly, but just a way to show permanent tribute to all those that have sacrificed for us.

Care Packs

We had several people ask us about our care packs at the 4th on Broadway. We DO collect items for care packs year round. It is an ongoing effort. We have a huge drive for Christmas and that is when collect the majority of our items and much of our shipping money, but we do send smaller mail outs throughout the year. If you have items to donate, the Marine recruiters are always happy to accept them, or you can email me through my profile and I or one of the other members will pick the items up.

Some of the most needed items for care packs are:
Black Socks - thick, calf length are best.
DVDs (new or used)
CDs (new or used)
AA batteries (still in package)
Beef Jerky
Car or sports magazines
and they always love encouraging cards and letters

As always, $30 will pay for contents and shipping of one box.

You can find the full list of needed items here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Operation USO Phone Home

We need your LUV to help deployed service members call home
by donating to USO Operation Phone Home®.
They have sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and friends who are there in spirit and silently supporting them from the other side of the world. But it means so much to our service members to be able to hear their voices. Far from home and lonely, they are defending our flag and our freedoms.

Our troops need to know we stand by them. Please join the Southwest Airlines Family in supporting Operation USO Phone Home, a program created to make it possible for Americans to extend this touch of home to the men and women of our armed forces.

Donations provide prepaid international phone cards to deployed service members so they can stay in touch with loved ones. One hundred percent of donations go toward the purchase of prepaid phone cards for America’s service men and women overseas. Since the program began in 2003, nearly two million cards have reached our troops. The troops say phone cards are the single most important item they receive. While any donation amount is accepted, please note that for every $14 donation the USO is able to purchase one 300-unit calling card.

Demonstrate your commitment and devotion to our troops. Help Southwest Airlines accomplish its goal of raising $20,000 worth of phone cards. When our employee donations reach $20,000 or more, the Southwest Airlines logo will appear on the co-branded cards.

Thank you for sharing your LUV with our troops who are far away from their loved ones!

Donate here

On My Watch Tonight by Mike Corrado

Visit Mike Corrado's website.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Little Lubbock Bragging

Texas Flag and Street Light, Lubbock, Texas, USA by Darrell Gulin
Texas Flag and Street Light, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Lubbock Receives 5 Star Rating

Lubbock has once again received five stars from a national publication.

Lubbock has been named a "Five Star Quality of Life Metro" by Penton Media's Expansion Management, a business magazine for executives of companies actively looking to expand or relocate their facilities.

The distinction of "Five Star Quality of Life Metros" is awarded to the top 20% of metro areas in the study.

The rankings evaluated housing affordability, crime rates and public schools, as well as the standard of living, traffic and commuting and much more.

Lubbock placed among the top ten of US metros for traffic and commuting.

8th ESB builds combat outposts for 13th MEU

COMBAT OUTPOST GOLDEN, Iraq (June 4, 2007) – Sergeant Neil O. Kentish works on an air conditioner unit for a general purpose tent here June 4. The Marines of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) built the combat outpost here in support of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Until now, Al Anbar province’s Thar Thar region has had little to no coalition presence. Kentish is a refrigeration mechanic and Spring Valley, N.Y., native with 8th ESB’s Engineer Support Company.

June 1, 2007; Submitted on: 07/07/2007 01:45:49 PM ; Story ID#: 200777134549

By Cpl. Thomas J. Griffith, 2nd Marine Logistics Group

COMBAT OUTPOST GOLDEN, Iraq (June 1, 2007) -- Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) built the combat outpost here along with two others in the Thar Thar region of Iraq’s Al Anbar province for the Marines of 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit June 1-15.

The outposts include general purpose tents, a few restrooms, Southwest Asia huts, hundreds of sand-filled, blast-absorbent barriers, and a dirt berm around the perimeter.

Now that COP Golden and the two other outposts are completed, it will allow the 13th MEU to provide security and coalition presence in a region that, until now, has been unoccupied.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Look what came in the mail today!

The author of Whisper Semper Fi sent me two of his CDs and I got them today! Isn't that the sweetest thing? I am thrilled! I am listening to Lest We Forget right now which you can order here and he also sent Cordell Country which is next up in the CD player. He won the Aloha Spirit Award in 2001 for his patriotic songpoems.

Freedom Walk

July 5th, 2007, Pasadena, CA- In 2005, Pentagon employees created The America Supports You Freedom Walk to commemorate the attack on the Pentagon and honor all lives lost on September 11. What began as a small gesture has become a new national tradition. Last year, over 135 Freedom Walks of all types and sizes were held across the U.S. To honor the victims of September 11, reflect on the freedoms we have in America, and pay tribute to our veterans, past and present. The National Freedom Walk will be held in Washington, D.C. On Sunday, September 9, 2007, at 9:00 a.m.

Local Freedom Walks will be held across America from September 8-11 in cities, workplaces and schools. Anyone is welcome to host or organize a Freedom Walk, or participate in a walk in their local community. Soldiers' Angels across America are stepping up to volunteer to host walks and volunteer in scheduled events.

FREEDOM WALKS come in many different shapes and sizes. The San Diego, CA walk had an “open course”. People chose a time to walk from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. That worked best with their schedules. In St. Louis, MO all walkers wore yellow t-shirts and formed a “human yellow ribbon” on the Anheuser-Busch Center field. The present Governor and the former Governor of Oklahoma co-chaired the FREEDOM WALK in Oklahoma City attended by over 5,000 people. In Sebring, OH, 9-year-old Colton Lockner organized a FREEDOM WALK for the town’s nearly 3,000 residents with the support of his Mayor and sponsorship for t-shirts from his local Pizza Pan. The College Gate Elementary School in Anchorage, AL walked around their school five times and concluded the event by writing essays on what freedom meant to each of them.

About America Supports You - America Supports You is a Department of Defense program recognizing citizens' support for our military and communicating that support to members of our Armed Forces and their families, at home and abroad. America Supports You connects citizens and corporations who are looking for ways to support the military with home front organizations that are devoted to helping the troops and their families, while also providing a one stop location on the Internet www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil where our military and their families can find hundreds of support organizations eager to help our heroes when they need it most.

To register, volunteer or for further information on the America Supports You Freedom Walk - http://www.americasupportsyou.com/freedomwalk.

Is there any local interest in a Freedom Walk? If any of you in the area are interested, maybe we can get a team together to start working on this.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Navy Pilots making fun of Marines

This video was made by Navy pilots to make fun of Marines. Personally, I thought it was a little mean, but my son was the one who told me about it and he thought it was hilarious. I guess Marines love to laugh, even if they are laughing at themselves.

For De'on, and others who have a hard time viewing videos here's a little synopsis. The video claims to be a "Typical day in the life of a K-Bay Marine". It shows a Marine waking up (from sleeping at attention on top of his bed of course) and kissing his bedside framed photo of Chesty Puller. Then he goes through his daily checklist, which includes things like "80s polo shirt, aviator glasses, 30 minutes of flexing, morning Oorahs, daily haircut (given by a blind man), daily visit to tattoo parlor (where he gets USMC across his forehead), and daily visit to pawn shop. Oh, and oversize truck is checked off too. That part is true. ;) It then shows his counseling session where he is in trouble for things like not enough tattoos and having only 18 brain cells, where the Marine Corps average is 28. All the Marines seem to be able to say to each other is "yut, yut, oorah, semper fi, devil dog". Now here's the really mean part... The Marine is shown at a bar where the girl he is trying to pick up slaps him and leaves with a Navy pilot, he gets drunk and leaves with a "girl" he finds out later is really a man. He then checks off "get drunk and loose a fight", and "embarrassing drunk story". See what I mean?

More 4th on Broadway Pictures

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What a Day!

We had a great day yesterday! The parade was fun, and we sold lots of bracelets and did pretty well with our Lubbock Marine Parents magnets. We also had letters for people to sign for the troops that we will include in our next round of carepacks and made some new Marine mom friends who are interested in being part of our group! Yeah! Our poster with the pictures of our Marines was a big hit. So many people stopped to look. We were even on the local news!

I don't have a picture of all the parents who worked yesterday. Hopefully I'll have more pictures from other members of the group to share soon. None of the dads are in these pictures, but they were awesome! They got our booth all set up and all we had to do was set up the poster and fluff the bows. They don't know how to fluff bows. :) Thank you to each of who you helped yesterday! I am amazed at how much a group of motivated Marine parents can accomplish!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Texans are friendly

Greetings from Lubbock, Texas
Greetings from Lubbock, Texas

The 'Rules of the South' are as follows!!!

1. Pull your droopy pants up. You look like an idiot.

2. Turn your cap right, your head isn't crooked.

3. Let's get this straight; it's called a "gravel road." I drive a
pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're going
to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

4 They are cattle. That's why they smell to you. They smell like money
to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-40 goes east and west, I-65 goes
north and south. Pick one.

5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 cotton
strippers that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. So every person in the south waves. It's called being friendly. Try
to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of doves are coming in, we
WILL shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to
your ear at the time.

8 Yeah, we eat catfish & crawfish. You really want sushi & caviar?
It's available at the corner bait shop.

9. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season. It's a
religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.

10. We open doors for women. That is applied to all women, regardless
of age.

11. No, there's no "vegetarian special" on the menu. Order steak. Or
you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham & turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats,
vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup!
Oh, yeah.... We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you

13. You bring "coke" into my house, it better be brown, wet and served
over ice. You bring "Mary Jane" into my house, she better be cute, know
how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.

14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Lakers
and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.

15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards -- it
spooks the fish.

16. Colleges? We have them all over. We have State Universities,
Universities, and Vo-techs. They come outta there with an education plus a
love for God and country, and they still wave at everybody when they come
for the holidays.

17. We have more folks in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. So
don't mess with us. If you do, you will get whipped by the best.
My son says that half the Marine Corps comes from Texas.

18. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump crap ain't
music, anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your
boxers! Refer back to #1!

Female Marines help Iraqi women receive medical care

1st Lt. Philip W. Klay

HABBINIYAH, Iraq (June 16, 2007) -- A contingent of female Marines from 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), conducted searches of and facilitated getting medical care for Iraqi women during a Cooperative Medical Engagement in a Habbiniyah neighborhood June 16.

Soldiers from 1st Iraqi Army Division, assisted by a Marine military transition team, brought Iraqi and U.S. military physicians to the neighborhood to treat local Iraqis.

During such events, Iraqi cultural norms make the use of female Marines in handling female civilians a considerable asset, according to team leader Capt. Jennifer M. Farina. Rather than have men handle all aspects of the engagement, the female Marines conducted searches as the women entered the area, separated the woman and young children from the men, determined their needs, and facilitated them through to process of getting medical care.

This served to make the Iraqi civilians feel comfortable during the engagement.

“There’s a tangible result of interacting with people, exchanging with them, not only knowing what their issues and problems are but trying to resolve them,” said Farina, a Montgomery, Mass. native.

Over 500 Iraqi civilians were treated at the Cooperative Medical Engagement, receiving assistance with a wide variety of medical complaints.

Cpl. Julia K. Venegas, who also took part, explained the value of such engagements.

“This is winning a war for hearts and minds,” said the Lubbock, Texas native. “I think they can see that we’re really trying to help and the Iraqi Army is really trying to help and more people will become even more cooperative.”
Emphasis mine.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Why They Fight

This is an awesome video of an amazing, well spoken Marine. I was just surfing around You Tube and found it. It caught me off guard and made me cry, so you are warned!

4th On Broadway

If you are in the area, please stop by and see us at our 4th on Broadway booth. We will be selling bracelets, glow necklaces, our Lubbock Marine Parents ribbon magnets and pre-selling our cookbooks. We'll be in booth #6 located just west of Ave W on the south side of the street. We had a great time last year, and I know we'll have lots of fun this year too. The parade starts at 9:00 and the street fair begins as soon as the parade is over. This is our major fundraiser for the year.

The above picture is from last year. The group is bigger this year and the poster of our Marines is MUCH bigger. You won't be able to miss us! :)

Pump It

Here's a fun video to start your week. These Sailors look like they are having a great time! :)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

America Supports You: Foundation Stands Beside New Marines

This is a wonderful service. Marine bootcamp graduation is something that no parent should miss if at all possible. Some of my best memories are from watching my own sons walk across that parade deck.

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2007 – Finances are no longer a reason to keep a Marine's family from attending his or her basic training graduation, thanks to the Marine Graduation Foundation.
"The men and women who choose to serve our country as a United States Marine endure more in one day of boot camp than most of us will ever experience in a lifetime," John Weant, the foundation's president said. "None of (them) should ever have to be alone on the day they can proudly say, 'I am a United States Marine.'"

Weant said it's "just not acceptable" for financial circumstances to stand in the way of families traveling to attend the ceremonies. Thanks to the Marine Graduation Foundation, families who want to attend a son or daughter's graduation at Camp Pendleton, Calif., or Parris Island, S.C., can request a grant from the Missouri-based organization through an online form.

The average grant is $250 and can be awarded to a grandparent, parent or spouse of the recruit, according to the foundation's Web site.

The nonprofit organization accepts donations to help fund the grants. Visit the foundation's Web site, usmcgrad.org, for more information on making tax-deductible donations.

"No donation is too small, and with your help, we can make the Emblem Ceremony, as well as the graduation, a proud, memorable day for a man or woman who has chosen to serve our country as a United States Marine," Weant said on the foundation's Web site.

The Marine Graduation Foundation is a new member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Related Site: America Supports You

Bravo battery gives M777 baptism of fire

June 28, 2007; Submitted on: 07/01/2007 01:36:11 PM ; Story ID#: 200771133611

By Sgt. Andy Hurt, 13th MEU

The M777A1 Howitzer cannon lights up the gun line as Bravo Battery 1/11 conducts a fire mission June 26. Bravo Battery is currently the only unit utilizing the M777 in combat, and also the first unit to do such.

COMBAT OUTPOST GOLDEN (June 28, 2007) -- Marines from Bravo Battery 1st Battalion, 11th Marines are making history as the first unit to use the new M777-A1 Howitzer in combat. Executing fire missions every night in support of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, the Marines of Bravo Battery are the leading “combat research” element as the new gun is fielded.

The M777 is gradually replacing the Marine Corps’ aging stock of M198 Howitzers, and many Marines are glad to see the change.

“I like the ‘triple-seven’,” said Sgt. Nelson Santiago. “It’s lighter, and more delicate. Our gun is like a sniper rifle.”

‘Cell Block C’
Santiago, the section chief from Bravo’s ‘Cell Block C’ crew (Gun #6 on the line), said it is exciting for his Marines to get the exclusive first combat use from the new guns. But life on the gun line is far from easy.

Following a night of fire missions, Marines stave off flies and heat as they attempt to rest outdoors during daytime. They “wake up” mid-afternoon and perform weapons maintenance (on a 15,000 pound weapon), followed by physical training. Since the gym is located far from the gun line, the Marines of ‘Cell Block C’ make do with what they have. Pull-ups off the gun barrel, military-pressing powder cases, etc. And then they wrestle for an hour or so.

When the sun goes down, ‘Cell Block C’ gets to work. While some Marines are busy “Getting Laid” (laying the gun into polar position in coordination with other guns on the line), others are checking ammo, and inspecting the new M777 for wear and tear. The mission recorder is busy scrawling notes by flashlight, a series of numbers, angles and equations enough to supplement a college physics class. The mission of Bravo Battery requires a ton of work.

“Some people think we just ‘pull string, go boom’, which we do, but there’s a lot more to it than that,” said Santiago.

Marines complete this rotation every few days, while other elements of the battery are conducting collateral duties. In fact, collateral duties have become so common in the artillery community, the Marines sometimes call themselves “Super-Grunts.”

“Artillery is great because it’s so diverse,” Santiago said. “We do infantry missions, PMO (Military Police) missions, humanitarian stuff … and we get to fire these big guns.”

What really makes ‘Cell Block C’ and Bravo Battery such a perfect test-bed for the new gun is possibly the Marines themselves. A group of good ol’ boys and raw intellectuals, ‘Cell Block C’ is never short of conversation. One Marine, Cpl. Ryan Mayfeild, is dogged because he looks like an “Abercrombie model.”

Another, Lance Cpl. Jonathan Maltez, bears the nickname “M.I.A.” because he once ventured off on a six-hour mission to find water.

Lance Cpl. Heath Shipley claims his best attributes are (in a heavy tobacco-country drawl) “sleeping and complainin’.” The irony is, Shipley’s job as mission recorder is one of painstaking tedium and detail, and utmost importance as he gives mission coordinates as they are passed over the radio net.

Private first-class, second award, Matthew Vincent takes pride in his rank so much he made his own t-shirt. It features a single chevron drawn in Sharpie marker with the text “Proud Federation of Champions” across the back. Vincent is the biggest guy on the crew, and is first to volunteer his strength for the nightly wrestling matches.

Then there’s Lance Cpl. Ben Almquist, a Citadel graduate who plans to apply for a commissioning program. As one of the junior members of the crew, Almquist’s chief responsibility is cleaning the massive gun, which is reflected by his grease-covered hands and face.

Another “boot Marine,” Pfc. Jonhommad Lind, says his father might live in Baghdad, but doesn’t know for sure because he was abandoned as a baby.

Corporal Andre Natividad dreams of covering himself in tattoos when the deployment is over.

It is a truly salty crew, and they take pride in their task. As the M777 is constantly under scrutiny and surveyed for improvement, the Marines of ‘Cell Block C’ and Bravo Battery 1/11 are seeing their work pay off every day. It is an uphill battle, however.

During the movement from Kuwait to Iraq, a container carrying every single piece of mission gear was destroyed by a roadside bomb. As the first battery to test the new weapon, no spare parts were readily available. With each broken seal and bolt, ‘Cell Block C’ is forced to engineer repairs from old parts while supply trains strain to bring them proper equipment.
With the odds against them, Bravo Battery is performing well. Under less-than ideal conditions, the M777 and the “Kings of Battle” are a history-making asset in the Global War on Terrorism.

For more information about Bravo Battery 1/11 and the Fighting 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the Unit’s Web site at .